Pianos are returning to the Wurlitzer Building with the opening of Sid Gold’s Request Room later this fall. New York’s popular piano karaoke bar is expanding to the Siren Hotel’s tightly packed ground floor.
Sid Gold’s is known for its eclectic approach to karaoke where customers can request songs and belt out their favorite tunes — anything from pop to punk to soul to classic rock — accompanied by a live pianist. The bar also regularly showcases burlesque performances.
Paul Devitt, who owns a fleet of Beauty Bar cocktail lounges across the country, and Joe McGinty, a former keyboardist for the Psychedelic Furs, are the partners behind Sid Gold’s. The paired teamed up to open the original mid-century influenced piano bar in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood in 2015. The venue gets its name from one of the investor’s fathers. Detroit will be the bar’s second only location.
Bringing Sid Gold’s to Detroit has been a multi-year process for Devitt and McGinty. Devitt tells Eater he first became interested in bringing a bar to Detroit, after a longtime customer suggested he pay a visit to the city. During his trip, Devitt explored a space in Corktown, but was drawn to downtown — an area he hadn’t visited in nearly 40 years. “[I] came downtown and just was blown away what was happening there,” he says. “I love the architecture, the scale of it, the walkability, and everything being right there.”
Sid Gold’s partners had been in the process of negotiating a lease for a space near the John Varvatos storefront along Woodward Avenue, but decided to abandon the deal after connecting with the developers of the Siren Hotel. Eventually, Sid Gold’s operators secured a 1,700-square-foot space in the hotel.
When it opens, Sid Gold’s will have a main entrance through the alley behind the hotel that will open into a bar room. A separate piano bar room will be located in the back of the space. Devitt describes the space as having a “vintage feel” with a 1970s, “sophisticated basement bar” aesthetic featuring items he’s collected at various estate sales over the years. A set of old wall mirrors from a home, for example, may become the back bar for the Detroit location. The space will have a mixture of booth and bar seating for around 70 people.
The bar will offer a similar menu to the New York location with a mixture of classic cocktails and music-inspired drinks like the Velvet Underground with bourbon, lime, and velvet falernum. Sid Gold’s will also offer beer and wine. The owners opted to omit the food due, in part, to the logistics of the operation and the fact that the Siren Hotel already has a number of restaurants on the premises.
The bar will open roughly six days a week. Each service will likely kick off with happy hour and live cabaret-style entertainment, before moving into piano karaoke later in the evening. “It’s kind of a place that people are going to end up” at the end of a night out on the town, he says.
Construction on Sid Gold’s is expected to begin within the next two weeks and Devitt anticipates that the bar will open sometime in October. As for whether there’s another Beauty Bar-style expansion in store for the Sid Gold’s brand, Devitt says he’s keeping his options open for locations closer to the East Coast such as Nashville.
When it opens, Sid Gold’s Request Room will join wide selection of food, beverage, and retail projects at the Siren Hotel. The boutique hotel opened its doors inside the historic Wurlitzer Building earlier this year and now features spots like Populace Coffee and Candy Bar. The current lineup will eventually grow to include an eight-seat tasting menu restaurant Albena, a second floor restaurant called Karl’s, a wine bar and record store, and an as-of-yet-unnamed rooftop bar. Stay tuned for updates as the project moves forward.
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